Indian Expat Living in Australia - Interview with Harsh

Published: 8 Sep at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Australia
Harsh is an Indian expat living in Australia. He is founder of Aussian - a unique blog that provides useful tips and information on moving to Australia.

Based on his experience, he knew that it's a huge lifestyle change and people are fraught with so many questions when moving to a new country. Aussian aims to help them by providing answers to some of the common questions and help make the transition smoother. Harsh's expat blog is called Aussian (see listing here)

Over Yarra River Bridge near MCG
Over Yarra River Bridge near MCG

Here's the interview with Harsh...


Where are you originally from?
I was born and spent more than 30 years of my life in Mumbai, India.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am living in world's most livable city - Melbourne, Australia.

How long have you lived in Australia and how long are you planning to stay?
I moved to Australia in June 2015 and after spending more than 2 years here and loving every bit of it, I am happy to say that I am going to call it my home.

Mimicking Captain Cook
Mimicking Captain Cook
Why did you move to Australia and what do you do?
I had a pretty good life in India, however I wanted to have the best lifestyle and better career prospects for my kids. Secondly, Australia has a pretty good Information Technology market and being an IT professional, Australia was an ideal choice for me.

Did you bring family with you?
Initially, I moved here on my own to search for a job. Once I found the job, my family joined me in about six months.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Moving to a new country is always a difficult task, especially when you have spent most of your life in a different country. Luckily, I moved to Australia along with one of my best friends and that helped a lot to overcome the loneliness.

Secondly, I had a few friends who had already migrated to Australia who helped me settle in the new lifestyle pretty quickly. So, I would say I was lucky to have a thrilling but smooth transition.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was certainly not easy making new friends initially, but over the time I found many expats through my job, WhatsApp groups, meetups etc. and eventually, some of them turned into great friends.

I found that people are quite easy-going and friendly here. Also, the level of trust is quite high. Since so many people face similar challenges in their expat journey, they tend to help each other and build a community.

Bushman in the wild
Bushman in the wild
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Melbourne is full of beautiful places all within short driving distance. There are so many places to visit such as The Twelve Apostles, the Yarra ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Philip Island, Alpine ranges and the list goes on.

But two places I would like to recommend are the royal botanical gardens in the city and the Docklands harbour. These two places can very easily uplift your mood anytime you go there and the natural splendour is truly marvellous. Most importantly, they are easily accessible to anyone, even without car.

What do you enjoy most about living in Australia?
Two things: the work-life balance and the quality of life. People here are hard-working but that doesn't mean they discount their personal life. People take both work and family time very seriously here. Often on weekends, I see many families spending time with their kids in the park or at lakes. It's just so rare sight back in India.

Secondly, Australia boasts exceptionally good quality of life. Australian cities rank very high when it comes to cleanliness of air. I felt awesome and refreshed even after long 16 hours journey from India, reason being clean air. Similarly, there are lot of green places everywhere, even in the city. The overall life is very peaceful and pleasant due to good infrastructure and support from government.

How does the cost of living in Australia compare to home?
Australia is termed as expensive and indeed it is, however I found that with right lifestyle choices, you can still save good amount of money, especially if your partner is working too. Eating out is ridiculously expensive. Just a regular coffee costs about $4. So you have to be watchful about your spending habits.

Apart from this, there are two things which are highly expensive - rent and child care. The bad thing is that there is no way you can cut the corners on either of them.

Docklands Harbour
Docklands Harbour
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Australia?
The only negative thing so far is the housing costs. It is ridiculously expensive to buy a house in a decent suburb with good schools. Though compared to Sydney, it is still affordable in certain areas, it is fast getting out of reach of a common man to buy a house. If you want to own a decent sized house, you have to either go farther out from the city or compromise on the type of house itself.

Another thing I hate is the CBD layout of the city which means all the offices will be centrally located in the city area making it crowded and causing longer commute time as people can't afford living nearby.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Australia, what would it be?
I would say, don't worry about the future. If you think you can do it, just do it. Remember that if there is a will, there is a way. Things will fall in place. You can't predict everything from onset, so just go with the flow and don't delay the move thinking about some trivial things.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
As with so many expats, finding the job in Australia had been a really nerve-wrecking experience for me. It was even harder because I didn't have coveted "local Australian experience" and I was here on a very tight budget due to financial commitments back home. It was an uphill struggle due to the slow and highly competitive job market. At one point, I almost thought of returning back but I kept going and thankfully, my perseverance paid off.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I have no plan to go back to my home country so I haven't really thought about it. Hypothetically, I feel I won't find it hard to cope with repatriation as I have spent almost half my life in India, but it will definitely take some getting used to.

Melbourne CBD Skyline
Melbourne CBD Skyline
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Research about the job prospects in Australia for your field of work. Also, keep an open mind and prepare a backup plan in case things don't work out as planned. For example, if you are a software engineer, be ready to work in, say marketing, till you find the job in your own industry.
  2. Perseverance is the key. In your initial days, your patience will be tested to the maximum, especially during job search. So be mentally prepared to survive without a job for few months.
  3. Be kind and ready to help without expectations. It won't cost you a dime but will help you build a network and community which can be immensely helpful in every area of life and yes, don't forget to smile.
  4. Life is not all about set of tasks to be completed. Celebrate what you have achieved so far and enjoy the journey. Australia is a fun place to explore. You can learn so much about Australia and its culture just by visiting new places and people. It will help you integrate with Australian community faster.
  5. Last but not the least, don't afraid to take risks. You have just one lifetime, make the most of it. Get out of your comfort zone. Courage is all you need to be successful.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
When I moved to Australia, I found that every other expat before me followed the same process, went through same troubles and hurdles like me, give or take few things. Aussian is created to help other aspiring expats right from the visa process till they arrive in Australia and even after that. My aim is to make Aussian a comprehensive resource guide for people looking for information about moving to Australia and how to cope with the transition.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Anybody wanting to connect with me can contact me via:

Facebook: AussianBlog (https://www.facebook.com/AussianBlog/)
Contact page: https://www.aussian.com/contact-me/
Email: harsh{at}aussian.com

About the author

Expat Blog ListingHarsh is an Indian expat living in Australia. Blog description: Aussian is all about moving to Australia, PR visa process, sharing tips about finding jobs, house, school, raising kids, finding right suburbs and answering all the questions a new expat might have when moving to Australia.
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